This is one of the Nintendo 64‘s more unusual efforts—from British developer Rare, it lets you wreak havoc on communities to try and save the world. Hurray!
The Explosive History of Blast Corps
Rare’s Blast Corps hit the Nintendo 64 scene in March of 1997 in Japan.
It was translated into English in time for a late ’97 release elsewhere, so we’ll have picked this quirky gem up this time in early 1998. Neat, huh?
It was one of the first signs Rare was going to be a mighty force on the console—soon after, the British developer hit the stratosphere with Goldeneye 007 in late 1997.
Of course, Diddy Kong Racing had entered the mix by that point, too. The developer from Twycross was certainly on it big time.
As such, Blast Corps was quickly dwarfed by the N64’s smash hit, but what you still have here, all these years on, is a weird game about destroying everything in the path of an out-of-control nuclear warhead on a truck. Nice, yeah?
Cue a load of weird and wonderful vehicles, a heck of a lot of demolition, and you have yourself an N64 cult classic. Hurray!
Okay, this is still quite an odd setup – a high-concept which places explosive, destructive action at the forefront of the gaming experience.
It’s a single player title (going against the grain of four player options the N64 delighted millions with) and you’re there heading up the Blast Corps demolition company to stop TWO runaway nuclear missile carriers from blowing up and killing everyone.
Over the course of some 57 levels, you promptly get eight vehicles to choose from. Some of these are great fun, such as the bulldozer, and others are a complete pain in the arse.
It’s fair to say the controls aren’t always up to much. Gamers were frustrated by how this ramped up the difficulty level on certain missions.
The worst vehicle is a side-swiping dump truck thing, where you have to slide your arse into buildings to get them out of the way. That was, apparently, inspired by one of Mario Kart 64‘s features.
The N64’s fanbase has kept the title in mind and ensured it’s not fallen into obscurity.
It remains a fun, if weird, cult gem and at this point in the industry’s history a sequel would be bloody brilliant. Until then you can find it on Rare Replay.
The Development of Blast Corps
At the time, Rare had suddenly emerged as Nintendo’s development darling – handed the Donkey Kong project, it produced a trilogy of well-received titles on the SNES.
On the N64, its first game was the largely forgettable Killer Instinct Gold, but Blast Corps was next up and showcased the developer’s knack for wacky, creative, ridiculously endearing romp alongs.
Rare’s co-founder, Chris Stamper, had kept the idea in mind for years and landed the project on four recent graduates the company had hired.
Lead designer Martin Wakeley has said he thinks Blast Corps is a puzzle game at its core (or corpse) and he has a point, it’s just very possibly the most explosive possible game there has ever been.
It first appeared at Space World in 1996 which was Nintendo’s trade show of the time – over in Nippon, the game wound up being called Blast Dozer. Because.
The remarkable thing here is, the team at Rare (of a handful of people) turned this project around in just over a year. And it’s great!
A glimpse into the future? Such a story indicates how many indie developers are now able to turn a gem around in a short space of time.
And all on a limited budget and minus a mammoth team to power it along. Rare? Heck, back then you guys hit genius.